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"plumbers make more hourly then Sys Admins"

Just another victim of economic downturn or one of many tales about sawing off the branch that holds you.

The owner of the Linux Router Project closes shop.

"My many contributions to the computing community has reaped very little personal benefit for myself. As I now struggle to pay the bills I can not help but feel quite pissed off at the state of affairs, for myself and the other authors who contributed massive amounts of time and quality work, only to have it whored by companies not willing to give back dime one to the people that actually created what it is they sell. Acknowledgement and referral would have at least been acceptable. Few companies do even that. "

"Some companies did contribute directly to the project. However a few thousand dollars or a few computers does not let a programmer eat next month. "

"My thanks go out to the few people that did help to make happen the LRP that was released. Untrue to the opensource dogma, actually finding people to contribute work to a project is a task in and of itself."

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, June 23, 2003

Plumbers don't work for free.

Yes, I understand that open source software is a good thing, but those who work on it need to ensure that they are properly rewarded at the time.

Either the work is its own reward, or only do the work as part of some other consulting project.

And honestly, if I had to choose, on any given day I'd rather have a working toilet than a working computer.

Gustavo W.
Monday, June 23, 2003

> plumbers make more hourly then Sys Admins

My plumber used to be a Sys Admin.  Now I know why!

S. Tanna
Monday, June 23, 2003


Not really being a Linux guy, I've not heard of this project but I visited their web site and saw what they were trying to do.

From what I see, he built a pretty cool system under Open Source in hopes that it would turn into something that would pay him a respectable salary. I see plenty of people in the Open Source community who give their time and effort for the sole sake of making a contribution and expect nothing in return. This guy seems annoyed that he wasn't able to make a living with his Open Source project.

I'll get flamed by the Open Source Nazis, but I have to ask...If you want to earn a living doing this, why did you make the software Open Source in the first place? it certainly looked like it had commercial potential.

Mark Hoffman
Monday, June 23, 2003

Open source or not, I think a more fundamental issue, is you can spend time on a project

(a) for fun

(b) for money

If (b), it's a good idea to check that somebody's ready to give you money for your work, before you spend 5 years developing it.  As far as I can tell, he either didn't (just hoped the paying customer would turn up), or maybe he got (a) and ( b) confused in his nmind.

S. Tanna
Monday, June 23, 2003

I can relate because I also have seen my open source work turned into a commercial product and have never seen one dime. And finding dedicated people to help is very hard. Quite a few contributions came from the outsidem, most of these were bug fixes and enhancements to meet the contributers needs. Unless the project is very "sexy" then it simply won't attract permenant developers or corporate money/sponsorship.

I never had a notion to develop open source full time though. Although I have seen a few open source projects parlayed into money in the author's pockets (jboss for instance), this is not the norm. To see a open source project exploited for commercial benefit doesn't surprise me. But to see an author go through it though really pains me. I want to see open source prosper and benefit all of us.

Ian Stallings
Monday, June 23, 2003

Okay, so I can see how annoying it would be, if you had sponsors, etc lined up, with a viable and visible cash flow agreed. But, if you just do this for the love of it, then love is all you're going to get surely.

It's a case of "Show me the money, Jerry".

Plumbers do earn more than IT people in London, due to supply and demand. There's loads of unemployed IT people and it's difficult/impossible to get a decent plumber.

Steve Jones (UK)
Monday, June 23, 2003

"Plumbers do earn more than IT people in London"

I am still eagely awaiting the IT episode of "Rogue Traders" ( ). :-)

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, June 23, 2003

OK, that sucks.

However, isn't this the classical techie/programmer mistake? Thinking that if you build it, they will come? Yeah, "they" will almost always come if it's a free and useful product.

Shareware authors have known this for years. If it's easy and legal to not pay or contribute, most users will... "not" that is.

And how many people need a Linux router that fits on a floppy? Compactness is great for embedded applications, but in the space of network administration, it means absolutely nothing except curiosity value.

I guess I am just stunned by the naivete' of people in the industry. There is room for a Linux Torvalds, and a few others similar to him. But an evangelist who hopes to profit had better have the sales skills to evangelize. Guys like Torvalds, Greenspun, and yeah, Joel, talk up their work and their interests. But it's not impossible and they all had to start somewhere.

Bored Bystander
Monday, June 23, 2003

It is not clear what the problem is.  This guy seems to be a little unclear on the concept of open source software.  Since he is basing his work on Linux it is presumably GPL.  He wrote some free software, some people are using it, and now he is upset that he is not making money off it?

Monday, June 23, 2003

Many people enter into OSS projects with the Field of Dreams concept: "If you build it, they will come." And when they have finally built it, they expect that sponsors and or advertisers will toss riches at their feet. Maybe not by buying their OSS creation, but by hiring them to do other magical things on consignment.

This poor guy discovered rather late in the game that he could not earn a living by giving his work away for free. Not only that but since everything he did was already free, no one was going to pay him real money to continue doing the same thing on their time. If he was to survive he would have to do what we all have to do. Go work for someone who says "all your code are belong to us".

Now, on the other side of the equation, plumbers are indeed more valuable these days. When I got out of high school, back in the day, only 25-30% went on to college. The rest went to trade schools, clerical jobs, retail business and the like. I myself went into an apprenticeship as a machinist and earned a decent living. (then went to college at nights many years later) Now, the proportion of HS graduates going to college vs trade schools is reversed. There are in fact shortages of some trades these days and as we have seen over the last couple years, no shortage of SysAdmins.

It all comes under the heading of Capitalism.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Actually there are very few places where plumbers earn more than sysadmins. In most parts of the world the figures are around five to one in the sysadmins favour.

Why the plumber can charge more than the sysadmin to come out at three in the morning is because normally you can let your network stay down till the next day but letting your house stay flooded is a more expensive option.

Another reason is that pluming is generally more reliable than computer hardware or software. If you had to call out the plumber as often as the sysadmin then you'd soon invest in a set of tools and some training videos.

Stephen Jones
Monday, June 23, 2003

[ He wrote some free software, some people are using it, and now he is upset that he is not making money off it? ]

If someone makes a dime off of your work shouldn't at the very least say thank you? Yes it is no surprise that others exploited his work for commercial gain. But just because that's the way things are doesn't make it any more "right". Does he not have a right to get peeved that all just took but never gave?

Surprising? No. Sad state of affairs? Yes.

And oh yeah, I'll take minimum wage before you'll see me fixing the loo.

Ian Stallings
Monday, June 23, 2003

"Some companies did contribute directly to the project. However a few thousand dollars or a few computers does not let a programmer eat next month. "

No duh, Sherlock.  Simple concept, it takes currency to provide sustenance for yourself.

How many open-source plumbers out there?  I would venture to say few or none.  Looks like plumbers not only make more, but are a lot smarter...

Monday, June 23, 2003

I see this as a massive "told you so" to the Free Software Movement (free as in beer)

So much noise and motion has been expended on the joys of creating code for free, and how open source is The Answer and anyone who tries to create software you have to pay for is the Antichrist.

And now one of the cornerstones of free software suddenly finds that he can't pay his rent with wishes and dreams.

Software takes effort, and good software (IMHO) takes a LOT of effort. There's nothing wrong with doing volunteer work, but it MUST be in the spirit of true charity - energy expended with zero anticipation of compensation.

Anything else is asking to be hurt.


Monday, June 23, 2003

>>> Does he not have a right to get peeved that all just took but never gave? <<<

Maybe I am missing something here, but I think his expectations are absurd.

I use open source / free software.  I use Linux but never sent Linus any money nor even a thank you note.  Same for emacs, etc., etc.  Isn't the idea of writing free software that people will use it?

I have not written any open source software, but have a few ideas to try if I ever get a round to it.  It has occurred to me that that might be a good way to build a reputation and get a nice paying job somewhere.

But it never occurred to me that by writing software and giving it away for free that I should expect people to give me money.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Sorry mackinac, I should have qualified that statement further. I meant the ones that use his code to profit, the _commercial_ vendors that use his code as their source of revenue (IE. Embeddix and Caldera). They should at the very least give the project some assistance, even if a small amount or even a link. It's not unheard of for commercial vendors to assist the open source developers that supply the code, it's in their best interest usually.

Ian Stallings
Monday, June 23, 2003

Since someone has already quoted Field of Dreams....

Ray: I did everything they told me, and never once asked 'What's in it for me?'
Joe: So what are you saying now?
Ray: What's in it for me?

David Clayworth
Monday, June 23, 2003

From the website of the software's author, it seems like this guy worked some 4 years on that project. Actually, I'm wondering how he managed to build such a "great product" (cf. his description of the software and road map at the bottom), and not get some 100+ headhunters' phone calls per day back in 2000.

I think Linus Torvalds got it right: still maintaining his commitment for linux, while getting (presumably 5-digit) paychecks from TransMeta. He left the company this month, to "concentrate" on the development of the linux kernel. Translates into: He got enough TransMeta's VC money routed into his pockets, he never has to work again for any company.

Johnny Bravo
Monday, June 23, 2003

What makes you think that a sysadmin should be paid higher than a plumber? you need to go back to the drawing board and strategize a new attitude.

me in the corner
Monday, June 23, 2003

David Cinege is a bitter crackpot:

Hard to imagine anybody with internet access employing him.

Anonymous Coward
Monday, June 23, 2003

I am sorry, but I don't feel sorry for him.  Didn't he think about the fact that open source software generally doesn't fetch much money.  If you want to make money open source is not a wise path for most.

Maybe he could make it up on volume:)

Monday, June 23, 2003

the project itself lives on (see LEAF at source forge, its in active development and is a child of LRP)

As far a I can make out Dave had what _was_ a brilliant idea and started the project, but then over a # of years managed to alienate pretty much everyone so the project forked and LEAF has become the main tree, with  support from partipating developers and companies going that way instead.
Which leaves the person who actually began the project hanging in the wind.
IMO its a _real_ shame but such things do happen.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Being a plumber is an excellent occupation.

One of my friends said his best mate from high school became a plumber, despite being the smartest kid in the school and being able to choose from any occupation. The reason? He'd worked it out and decided that being a plumber had the best earnings/effort ratio.

I think most people want a job that means you don't have to work very hard and get paid lots, so why not become a plumber? The only reason I see is that some people have a bias against "blue collar" jobs.

And the horse you rode in on
Monday, June 23, 2003

Looks like the guy had a few issues

Monday, June 23, 2003

How dumb can you be, really.

Has anyone else ever noticed that the biggest pushers of open source are not the people who are needed to create it, but the legions of junior hackers who want something to play with, or the web firms who charge a lot but don't want to pay for the technology they use.

Or the business guys who can't believe there are people dumb enough to work for free.

This poor guy got sucked by the mindless hype. Open source is the saviour. Support will pay for it. Hallelujah.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Richard Stallman isn't a junior hacker, and he's certainly the biggest pusher for "Free Software" (he gets irate if you call it Open Source).

Unless you think a guy who was the original author of emacs, gcc and gdb is a junior hacker type. :p

And the horse you rode in on
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

In this context Stallman=Hitler and so the thread is over.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The average pusher of open source software is nothing like Richard Stallman and is not even a programmer, if you look into it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Philo wrote: "I see this as a massive "told you so" to the Free Software Movement (free as in beer) [...] And now one of the cornerstones of free software suddenly finds that he can't pay his rent with wishes and dreams."

"One of the cornerstones"? I've *heard* of the project, but I'd never even heard the guy's name until this story came out. Come on, Philo. Free software isn't going to eat your children. Tone down the paranoia-driven hyperbole.

If it means anything at all (and I doubt that it does mean anything to anyone other than the LRP guy), it's a massive "told you so" to the "Free Software Owes Me A Living" bowel movement.

Adam Fitzpatrick
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I agree with Philo.

You guys that are so big on open-source -- show us the open source software you have written so that we may admire it.

open source skeptik
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Actually there are some huge OSS projects out there - Mozilla and Eclipse, to name two - which gained quite some fame. But most of them do have one thing in common (including the aforementioned): they started out as commercial applications, being developed at IBM or other large companies, but then their managers decided to give them away for free because they did not earn them a single cent anyway.

Johnny Bravo
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Free (gratis) software is not about making money for the author, it's about saving money for the user. Sometimes the user will pay the author for her expertise configuring, maintaining, and/or upgrading the software if such a sum will be recouped by the cost savings of running it.

So some guy is trying to find out if his software is good enough to fall into the latter category.

Devil's Advocate
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

---". But most of them do have one thing in common ... they started out as commercial applications,"----

And most commercial software started off as free or publicly funded software.

Commercial and Open Source software have been feeding off each other for a long time.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I subscribe to the "free software business" email list, which is for hackers, entrepreneurs, and armchair economists who are interested in how money can be made from open-source software.

One subscriber posted a whole bunch of thinly-veiled pleas for money. He argued that a certain business model was ideal for free software, and while he didn't make the connection explicit, any company that followed this model would have also kicked some of their revenue his way.  He put forth a proposal for a new kind of Linux distribution or infrastructure for supporting free software or some such, which required a few hundred grand in startup capital.  As his cash reserves dwindled, his pleas became more direct and more strident.

The most common response from other members of the list -- remember, these folks were all philosophically in favor of Open Source, or they would never have subscribed in the first place -- was "GET A JOB, YOU FOOL".  Or words to that effect.

Brian Fox, the author of "bash" (the GNU "Bourne Again Shell"), remarked that when he was young, he learned to be a chef.  That way, he would never have to compromise his Free Software principles in order to get a job: if all else failed, he could get a "day job" as a cook and hack in his spare time.

Seth Gordon
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

In my experience, most of the loudest mouths in the Open Source camp are more sysadmin than programmer -- they can maybe hack some code in Perl and possible have created their own SourceForge project that is still listed in the "alpha, no code available" stage.

Mister Fancypants
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

"most commercial software started off as free or publicly funded software" - Stephen Jones

Care to make that up with some hard data or are you just ignorantly spouting off at the mouth yet again?

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

"Brian Fox... learned to be a chef [so] he would never have to compromise his Free Software principles in order to get a job"

I haven't been to his restaurant (is it any good?) so I can't comment on taht but I did find it interesting since I became a developer so that I would never have to compromise my Artistic Principles in order to get a job.

Non-Struggling Artist
Tuesday, June 24, 2003

---"Care to make that up with some hard data or are you just ignorantly spouting off at the mouth yet again? "----

If that's your idea of how you ask for something in civilized forums, then no I can't be bothered to reply. Think perls before swine.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Open source is dead. As one would expect. In the middle of the IT boom well payed software developers could afford to magnamanimously devote some of their time to a noble concept.

But when the pinch comes, what goes first?

Thursday, June 26, 2003

It is not such a weird concept.  In .au plumbers are *licensed*. This means a plumber is liable for his work for 10 years after installation. Any problems with the system and you can check the license number and tie the installation to an individaul plumber. 

Imagine that with software developers?  Besides plumbers are responsible for the reliable delivery of my *water*.  And while my plumbing requirements are an order of complexity less than my  computer system requirements my plumbing is more reliable.

Anyway  whoever said that by virtue of a job as a *sys-admins* your entitled to earn more? 

peter renshaw
Sunday, July 6, 2003

plumber r kooooool

Friday, February 6, 2004

i like plumbers i an fat

Thursday, March 4, 2004

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